by McKinley Powers
The Whitworth Pirates defeated the Chapman Panthers 37-7 on Saturday, Sept. 26, in Los Angeles, during a non-conference game. The Pirates came out strong, scoring 23 points in the first half and maintained their lead by scoring two touchdowns in the second half.
After losing to the Panthers in the 2014 season 49-34, expectations were set high for the Pirates. Right out of the gate, the Panthers blocked an attempted field goal made by freshman kicker Rehn Riley. Junior running back Duke DeGaetano then rushed for the first touchdown of the game, followed by an incomplete two point conversion. Another touchdown quickly followed as junior quarterback Ian Kolste rushed for a touchdown, resulting in a 13-0 lead by the Pirates.
The Pirates defense demanded attention in the first half after junior outside linebacker Dalin McDonnell intercepted a pass by the Chapman QB on the first play of the drive. That led to another rushing touchdown by DeGaetano two plays later to finish out the half. Pirates defense continued to dominate in the third quarter with sophomore inside linebacker Patch Kulp intercepting another pass by the Chapman QB.
Whitworth continued to keep their energy into the third quarter with another interception by McDonnell which he returned for a touchdown. Senior defensive back Kelvin Mackey forced a fumble after a long kickoff return which was recovered by Kulp. DeGaetano then rushed for another touchdown. The Panthers answered with their only touchdown of the game by a kick off return. Mackey then forced another fumble which was recovered by freshman defensive end Chad Wilburg.
“Last year this team beat us,” second year head coach Rodney Sandberg said. “Last year our defense allowed 49 points and this year they had a shutout. It really is a tribute to our defensive players and our defensive coaches.”
Overall the Pirates dominated with a total of 486 yards to Chapman’s 340 yards. Whitworth also had four rushing touchdowns and five defensive takeaways producing the final score of 37-7.
“We ran the ball very well,” junior offensive lineman Trevor Woodall said. “We played very physical and were able to maintain our lead throughout the game.”
The Pirates ended the weekend with an overall record of 3-0. Whitworth leads the conference with 123 points.
Next Saturday the Pirates take on George Fox University for Homecoming, also the first Conference game of the season, at 1 p.m.
Contact McKinley Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org